Naval Nurse Adult (Student) Selection Board - a review


Naval Nurse Adult (Student) Selection board – a review

During my preparations for the NN selection board I found very little information from those who had sat the board recently. Now that a have sat the board myself I have decided to write this short review/overview of the board.

Please do not take what I post here as gospel. The way the board is laid out may well change from when I sat mine. As always check information with your AFCO.

What you’ll be doing
  1. Birmingham City University (BCU) – Numeracy and literacy test
  2. 10-minute presentation on a Nurse related topic of your choice to the Board members and other candidates who are also sitting the selection board.
  3. An approximately 30-minute interview with the selection board.
In depth
The NN selection board is held at HMS Sultan in Gosport (same place as Admiralty Interview Board). If you’re like me, you’ll have to get the train down to Portsmouth and then the Ferry from Portsmouth to Gosport. You will meet at the Gosport side of the Ferry and be taken to HMS Sultan.

Upon arrival, you’ll get ID lanyards sorted out and then be taken to your accommodation where you’ll dump your kit and go to complete the Birmingham City University numeracy and literacy tests. There is a practice paper available for these tests which I would recommend practicing . All things considered though this test isn’t too hard and with a little bit of practice you should complete it with ease. After completing the tests you will be taken to make sure that your power point for the presentation (if you’ve done one) works with the computer being used.

Once this has been done the rest of the day is your own. I’d use this time to go over your notes and practice your presentation - don’t get too stressed out about it though. There may also be a few medical assistants (MA) sitting the board, if so ask them questions and listen to what they say – the MA on my board told me all sorts of stuff which proved very useful in the interview.

The next morning you should get up early as to allow lots of time to get ready. Once you’ve got ready and had breakfast you will go to the presentation room to deliver your presentation – DON’T BE LATE.

The presentation can be on any Nursing related topic of your choice but you must be able to relate it to Nursing in the military. Example subjects could be the Royal Centre for defence medicine, an operation the QARNNS where involved in, a medical condition, etc. Try to pick a subject that interests you as much as possible. It’s also important to keep your presentation as close to 10 minutes as possible (you will be timed), but don’t get to obsessed with timing and try to keep it as interesting as possible. Try not to speak too fast when giving your presentation and practice it to yourself, family, friends, teachers, etc. as much as possible and ask them how you could improve.

Once you’ve delivered your presentation you will be asked questions by the board so make sure you’ve read around the subject, make sure you know where your information for the presentation came from as you will be asked. When the other candidates are delivering their presentations sit up straight and look interested (even if you aren’t) as this makes you look good in front of the board and also makes it easier on the person delivering the presentation.

Once you’ve all completed your presentations you be taken to the recreational room where you’ll wait before being taken for interview. Those who live further away tend to go first.

When I sat the interview the board consisted of three members – two Officers and one NCO. It’s easy to be scared by the prospect of the interview but for mine they were all really nice so as long as you’ve prepared there is no reason to be too nervous. Before you start the interview you’ll be asked to give a 2 minute speech about yourself – this could be about what you do for work, hobbies, anything really so think of some interesting things to say about yourself (in a good way) before you sit the board.

Here are a few things to bear in mind and/or research before siting the board:
  1. Why do you want to join the Royal Navy over the other services? – think hard about what you can do in the Navy that you can’t in the Army or the RAF.
  2. Why do you want to be a Nurse?
  3. An example of when you have been compassionate
  4. Have you ever been in a position a leadership/worked as a team?
  5. Have you ever made a hard decision?
  6. Have you ever made a mistake?
  7. What do you want to specialise in as a Nurse?
  8. Role of a Nurse in conflict
  9. Research the course you’ll be doing at BCU - - I highly recommend going on an open day.
  10. Where you’ll be staying while studying at BCU -
  11. Research the QARNNS -
    o Role 1, 2, 2 afloat, 3 afloat, etc.
    o Nurse specialisations in the Royal Navy
    o RFA Argus
    o Commando forward surgical group
    o Any operations past (Op Gritrock) and present which the QARNNS are involved in. For up to date information look in the Navy News.
    o Royal centre for defence medicine and other defence medical groups.
  12. Very useful link -
  13. The board will also ask you about any medical experience/exposure you may have. If you don’t have any I would look at volunteering in the local hospice or perhaps in an event first aid position with the British Red Cross or St. Johns ambulance.
Once you’ve sat the interview you’ll be taken to the Gosport ferry for you journey home (Bring a change of clothes for the return journey if you want to avoid traveling home in a suit).

Final note – The selection process for NN student is very competitive. Make sure you have a B plan for what you will do should you fail the board be it get a job, go to Uni or come back and try again next year. The board may ask you about what you will do should you not be selected, so be sure to have a plan.

That’s all I can think of, I hope it helps.

Good luck!


Im looking to go to my selection in February 2020 so a while to go yet.
In interest how many people are selected during this process.
Thank you for all that information thats very useful. I also have my selection in feb 2020, I'm guessing from my AFCO on what they have hinted at, there is a fair few places to go this year (around 10) would also like to know how many other people are selected.


I am aware that the selection board is difficult however, my AFCO have said to me 15/30 individuals are chosen. Which makes me nervous


Im looking to go to my selection in February 2020 so a while to go yet.
In interest how many people are selected during this process.

I am also waiting to go to the selection board, i have already passed everything and I am just waiting for a date for the selection process.

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